Sweden’s Film Industry Seeks More Tax Breaks

Sweden, with a celebrated film history of its own, has been playing an increasing role in hosting the production of both big- and small-screen projects. The country not only served as the location for the Millennium trilogy based on the novels of native son Stieg Larsson — it was also the shooting locale for the American adaptation of series’ first installment, David Fincher’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

The country also hosted Swedish and British versions of the TV series “Wallander,” as well as numerous films by Danish director Lars von Trier, including “Melancholia,” “Antichrist” and “Dogville.”

Not wanting to lose momentum, members of the Swedish film and TV community are now lobbying the government to establish a production tax credit similar to that of many other countries. “Our main argument is the increased competition from countries in Europe who have the tax incentives in place,” says Ingrid Rudefors of the Sweden Film Commission and Film Region Stockholm-Malardalen/Stockholm Film Commission. “Our goal is that the tax incentives we hope to have in place soon would be beneficial for both foreign and Swedish productions.”

Meanwhile, foreign producers have the option of applying for financing from one of four regional film funds, or partnering with a Swedish producer and utilizing the national film fund.

Sweden has four major studio facilities in Stockholm, where the bulk of production is based. In the south Ystad Studios hosts both the Swedish and British versions of “Wallander.” There’s another studio in the north, in the city of Lulea, and two studios in the west. Of the latter, the most prominent is Trollywood in Trollhattan, where von Trier shoots his films. That happens to also be the home of Film i Väst, which produces approximately half of Sweden’s feature films.

“The Swedish simple and very laid-back bureaucracy is unusual,” says Mikael Svensson of the Sweden Film Commission and Oresund/Southern Sweden Film Commission. “In most cases, we can just make a simple phone call to a decision-maker to get help with permits and visas.”

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